Question:Can you recommend summer camps especially for kids with special needs?
As a non-profit organization, we cannot recommend specific camps. We can, however, direct you to articles with the information you need. It is important to be a careful consumer when looking for a program for a child with special needs. If possible, visit the site and talk with previous clients first.
Question:Can you recommend any books that are at a lower reading level but would still appeal to older students?
It can be difficult to find books that have high interest and are also written at a level so that children with reading challenges can enjoy them. A good starting point would be to talk to the special education teachers, reading specialist, and librarian at your child's school. In addition to recommended books, you may also want to ask for suggestions of children's magazines. Magazines tend to have appeal for all students and have many advantages for struggling readers because of their interesting and current topics, large number of graphics, short articles, and "adult" look. Also consider asking the librarian for suggestions of books of poems. There are some hilarious contemporary poets out there whose poems have mass kid appeal. And because poems, like magazine articles, are short, they are instantly gratifying and provide an immediate sense of accomplishment for all readers.
You might also look into high interest-low reading level books (hi-lo books). Find helpful information about hi-lo books and booklists.
Question:What should I do for my child who has an IEP but still has trouble with handwriting, taking notes, and writing at an appropriate speed?
If you see some of your child’s struggles described in these articles, you may want to call an IEP meeting to share your concerns. At this time, you and the other members of the IEP team can discuss whether the goals, objectives, accommodations, modifications, and types and level of services your child is receiving are meeting his needs in the area of writing. This would also be a good time to discuss whether your child’s writing challenges are most likely related to the disability label under which he has an IEP or if further evaluation is warranted to get a clearer picture of why writing is such a struggle for him.
The sooner your child’s writing challenges can be systematically addressed, the more likely he will be to reach his true potential in writing.
Question:My son's school would like to place him in a self-contained classroom. I don't agree. What can I do to make sure my child has the best possible learning environment?
School districts are required to educate students with disabilities in regular classrooms with their non-disabled peers in the school they would attend if not disabled, to the maximum extent appropriate. This is commonly referred to as the least restrictive environment (LRE).
Question:I have a number of students with severe disabilities in my classroom that are performing at a level far below their classmates. Should they be in my class? How can I help them?
Students with varying disabilities, representing a wide range of age levels, can be taught very successfully when grouped together, provided the teacher has significant training and assistance. This practice is called inclusion. Since each child's IEP governs his or her schooling, such students need individualized programs but can easily be grouped with others for many lessons. More and more, teachers are expected to meet each child's unique needs regardless of their educational "labels" of special, gifted or general.
Check to see what academic goals exist for each student. Some may need to be with non-handicapped students in order to develop social skills, with limited expectations for academic achievement. Meet with the special educators to determine how you can support these children. Usually, some degree of differentiated instruction (DI) is required.
Question:What is the relationship between RTI and special education?
Response from Doug Fuchs The relationship or what the relationship should be between RTI and special education is a very important issue. Some people believe that special education should have little role in RTI, others believe that special ed should have a predominate role in RTI. Some believe that special education's proper role or function should be sprinkled, if you will, across and among the RTI tiers so that special educators are working at tier 1, tier 2, tier 3 and so forth. Others believe that special educators should be only at the most intensive tier in an RTI system. So, there's, I think, considerable confusion at the moment as to what special ed's proper role, function, set of responsibilities should be in an RTI system. What the professional role of the special educators should be in an RTI system. Importantly, a related concern or question is what constitutes most intensive instruction? States and districts and other stakeholders are relatively clear about what should go on at tier 1 and tier 2. What general education can do to contribute to a well-functioning, high-performing RTI system. There's relative confusion, uncertainty as to what the nature of instruction should be for the children who are chronically unresponsive to tiers 1 and 2. What do we do for the kids, with the kids who are not responding to quote unquote best evidence practices and secondly who should deliver that most instructionally intensive treatments or interventions. So, I wish I could give you a clear, persuasive, consensual sense or opinion as to what special education's role should be but there really isn't a consensus at this point. What would I personally like to see? I would personally like to see special educators providing most intensive instruction. Special educators don't exclusively need to be those providing that most intensive instruction, but I think that's in principle, that's what special educators role should be primarily. They should be working with kids who are the most instructionally needy children in a given school.